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Road Cycling Holidays

Pump It Up

The punctures are worth it for this view. A misty bay in America.

A bay in America. The sun is creating dramatic light contrasts and makes the rock in the sea look silhouetted.

View from the saddle of a bike of trees in the woods.

Well, when I wrote yesterday I said the bike was running like a Swiss watch. It turns out it was a fake Rolex. I fixed FOUR punctures in total and there was clearly something in the tyre that I just couldn’t find. Eventually I got the damn thing to stay inflated and today it has been fine.
One odd side-note: while sitting at the roadside mending puncture number 2 a rather scruffy bloke shuffled up to me to ask if I needed a hand. I thanked him and said I was fine and he ambled off, then stopped and turned back to say ‘I don’t sleep with men any more’.    OK!
I really love this route from my two years of Love Machine duty, but the view from the saddle of a bike is even better. The ‎views are often spectacular but also the general ‘vibe’ is a great experience.
We are in Bandon, OR where we will have a rest day. Our motel is on the beach and if the mist would just bugger off it will be a great location to chill tomorrow.
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.

Fantastic Day

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A bay in America with the sun shining on the water

An American bay surrounded by trees when the sun it out.

The view from the top of a hill, looking down to the sea

A cyclist enjoying an ice cream in the sun shine.

‎And it was! About as good a day for cycling as you could get ‎with a strong sun in a cloudless blue sky, gently rolling terrain and a sodding great tailwind. Added to this, the bike seems to be running like a swiss watch and all I had to do was sit on the thing and watch the miles passing under the front wheel.
The scenery in Northern Oregon was up to the occasion with wonderful sandy shores, rock stacks and white breakers, all shrouded in a light mist for a bit of extra theatre. Oh yes, even the whales put in an appearance.
‎Even a puncture couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.  
What else do you need on a day like this? That’s right ‎a chuffing great ice cream 🙂
This is day 6 and we are a quarter of the way with 430 miles under our belts. Any more days  with the sun out like today and I might explode.  
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.

Devil Woman

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Two cyclists enjoying a break and having a coffee.

The job of sweeper mostly requires little more than riding slowly with the tail-end charlie. I am very good at it…if riding slowly was an Olympic event I would be in the medals, even without taking performance reducing drugs (or pies as most people call them).
However, there is always that nagging worry that one day EVERYONE on a trip will be fast. This has nearly happened on this trip. When the guests arrived they turned out to be a bunch of racing snakes with helium bikes and less fat than a veggie burger. Bugger.
This means I have to ride fast – I am nearly as bad at riding fast as I am good at riding slow.
To give you some idea of the extent of my problem I would like you to meet the pair in the photo. To preserve anonymity I will call them ‘Pierre and Katie’. The week before this trip they entered the Thruxton 24 hour race. Most people have the wit to enter as part of relay teams but about 40 idiots, including ‘Pierre and Katie’, entered the solo category.  
Pierre rode a gobsmaking 410 miles, placing him fourth. Katie ‘only’ did 361 but this placed her faster than all but 7 riders and the fastest girl by a country mile. I hate her. She cycles past me on hills grinning and whistling, brow untroubled by the sweat that is drenching me from head to foot.  
My sweeping is now being done from a veeeeery long way back – anyone encountering a problem will have time to completely rebuild their bike ready to watch me arrive and collapse sweating and gasping on the verge.
Bloody ‘Katie’!

Whale Meat Again

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 On Saturday we had time to kill while we waited for the last two riders to fly in.  Actually, rather a lot of time because we were awake at 4am….bloody jet lag!
We had a good old ‘Merican breakfast of corned beef hash at a diner, mooched around a mall then retired to a park to strategise is the sun.  I knew that there was a good chance of seeing whales on this trip but hadn’t expected to see one quite so early, an certainly not in a Seattle park:
One of the riders taking a break in the sunshine.

We also saw another rather curious thing in the park……a girl who had been sunbathing near us got up, moved  about 25 yards, sat down again and proceeded to take a ‘selfie’ of a rather intimate part of her anatomy.  We have reflected on this at length but have no explanation to offer.

Yesterday we finally started riding, 76 glorious miles down the side of the Hood canal in absolutely perfect weather.  It is good to be on the road again!!!
What with jet lag, the heat, and 76 miles under our belts everyone was tired and it was an early night. Unfortunately I was so tired that I fell asleep nursing a nearly full beer!  It seems that at some point in the night I tried to take a swig from the bottle but only succeeded in tipping beer all over my face…  If you have ever woken in the night because you are drowning in beer (and let’s face it, who hasn’t?) you will know it isn’t much fun.
Today we turn west and will actually be on the Pacific coast by bed time.

The Bridge

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Elton John but I’m not going to help you with them all! 

Has anyone seen the footage of the ‘Merican suspension bridge that fell to bits when it got caught in a cross wind back in 1940? It started to wobble and twist and eventually fell into the sea.  Well this was the 2nd attempt which has fared rather better.  It is the Tacoma Narrows bridge which we crossed on our way to Port Townsend with our first load of bikes and riders. 

Tacoma Narrows bridge which we crossed on our way to Port Townsend with our first load of bikes and riders. 
No excitements to report yet – no lost wallets or keys locked in cars but there is still plenty of time :-).

The forecast for tomorrow is clear blue skies and highs in the mid-20’s… I believe that fair weather is also predicted for Blighty so no real cause for smugness but, never the less, I do feel a little smug.

Steve’s Land’s End to John O’Groats

Starting May 27th I will be repeating the 2005 expedition but this time in just 9 days (last time we took 10).  Although I have ridden higher daily mileages OR more days this is the first time I have ever tried to do 9 consecutive 100 milers.

I am riding with some work colleagues who are all virgins as far as long distance cycle touring is concerned.  I have maturity (who laughed) and experience on my side but they have youth and vigour – they are between 11 and 17 years my junior. 

We catch the morning train to Penzance then quickly nip down to Land’s End for the ritual photos before returning to Penzance for the night.  We then start the real work on Saturday.  At  the moment the weather for the weekend is mixed news:  wet (bad) but with strong winds from the SW (very very good).